Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Michael Bloomberg Looks To Influence News Coverage At Bloomberg News

From the NY Times:

At editorial meetings in Bloomberg L.P.’s headquarters this week, Michael R. Bloomberg gave clear signs that he would not be taking a hands-off approach as he returned to his old company.

Just two week’s removed from City Hall, and in his first days back at the media giant that he owns and that carries his name, Mr. Bloomberg surprised many employees by showing up at all of the 7:30 a.m. meetings where the day’s big journalistic decisions are made.

At the gatherings, in a glass-walled conference room, he spoke up to indicate what coverage interested him, like the traffic scandal involving Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey and the romantic problems of the French president, François Hollande, and what did not, like the suspension of Alex Rodriguez from baseball, according to three people briefed on the meetings.

This is not what employees at the company had expected upon Mr. Bloomberg’s return after three terms as the mayor of New York City. While in office, Mr. Bloomberg said publicly that he would never go back to running his old company. And only a few months ago, the company’s chief executive, Daniel L. Doctoroff, said in an interview that Mr. Bloomberg did not want “to get involved in the day-to-day at all.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s dive back into the news side of the organization has not only caught employees by surprise, but it has also worried some that the division’s editorial independence could be called into question. Generally, the owners of news organizations try to avoid any appearance of influencing coverage, particularly when they have political affiliations.

“There’s a discussion of the ethics of it,” said one current employee, who was at the editorial meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “There’s this feeling that no one is there to say no to him.”

Of course Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman exert influence on their own news outlets as well, so frankly, why shouldn't Michael Bloomberg?

And after Bloomberg put so many journalists and p.r. people on his payroll to burnish his image and write the "history" of his mayorality, I really thought he would go back to Bloomberg News, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, et al. and turn them into propaganda vehicles like Bloomberg Views (the opinion wing of Bloomberg News.)

Now it looks like he is.

How much longer until he decides to influence not just the stories that get prominent coverage but also the content of those stories?

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